Tuesday, October 27, 2009

MCAS Growth Model Unveiled Today

A Letter From Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education

Mitchell D. Chester, Ed. D.


For years, educators across the Commonwealth have called for the state to develop a way to measure student progress as a complement to the measures of student achievement already available through the MCAS testing system. As a result of the efforts of educators around the state, I am pleased to release the first round of student growth reports statewide and for all districts and schools.

The public now has access to school and district results by going to the “School and District Profiles” (http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/state_report/mcas.aspx) on our Department’s website. Support materials, including a tutorial video, as well as this report are available at: http://www.doe.mass.edu/mcas/growth.

As part of the development of the methodology used to generate growth data, the Department conducted a field test with a diverse group of nine districts from April 29th to July 2, 2009. The participating districts were: Community Day Charter Public School, Franklin, Lowell, Malden, Newton, Northampton, Sharon, Springfield, and Winchendon. I want to thank these nine districts for their generous contributions of time, talent and insights during one of the busiest periods in the school year. Districts and schools across the state will benefit from what our staff learned from this process including important refinements to reports, training and interpretive materials.


I am optimistic about the potential that this measure of student growth presents for the improvement of curriculum and instruction in all districts. While in no way do I want the growth measure to obscure our goal of getting all students to proficiency and beyond, I am confident that used in combination with MCAS achievement data, growth will provide a more robust profile of school and district performance. I am looking forward to our discussion of the student percentile growth model and the insights we are gaining about performance.

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